Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in Europe) is an application available from the Nintendo eShop which allowed players to distribute drawings and photographs to other users across the internet. However, Nintendo has now decided to suspend such a service in all its available regions due to online safety concerns.
Nintendo stated that the service had been misused, with “offensive material” being distributed to minors. While the software would only allow you to exchange messages with other players registered on the console’s friends list, it appears that in some cases children have been posting their Friend Codes across online forums.
After this incident, it would seem Nintendo is trying to put more emphasis on the system’s parental controls, to put more concerned parents at ease. The full statement has been posted on their website, which you can read below:
Thank you for your support.
Nintendo has learned that some consumers, including minors, have been exchanging their friend codes on Internet bulletin boards and then using Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in other regions) to exchange offensive material. Nintendo has been investigating ways of preventing this and determined it is best to stop the SpotPass feature of Swapnote because it allows direct exchange of photos and was actively misused.
Nintendo always wants to provide a positive experience for all consumers and limit the risk of any inappropriate activity or misuse of a service. We feel it is important on this occasion to take this action.
We are very sorry for any inconvenience to the many consumers who have been using this service responsibly; however this decision was made considering the point that many minors also use this feature of Swapnote. Thank you for your understanding.
Nintendo will continue to work to ensure more consumers are aware of our Parental Control features, which allow parents to manage their children’s experience on our systems. For more information, please click here.
Service stop date: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 7 p.m. PT
Service being stopped: Nintendo 3DS software Swapnote – Sending and receiving notes using SpotPass
Affected regions: All regions where the service was offered
Special Notes services are also stopped
Updated: According to a statement on the Nintendo Japan site, it would also appear that all online functions in Flipnote Studio 3D have also been suspended for similar reasons. It’s still unknown if or when functions will be reinstated. Being available in Japan-only at present time, we assume that this problem will only further delay the 3DS Flipnote app from coming to other regions.